The Los Angeles Lakers look to avoid their first 0-3 start in 33 years as they host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Staples Center. The Lakers are playing their third game in three nights, the first team in the NBA to play a set of back-to-back-to-back games this season.
In the 1978-1979 season, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-led Lakers began their season with losses in their first three games and in four of their first five games, the last Lakers team to open their season 0-3. That team did run off a 14-game winning streak after their 1-4 start, and ended up with a 47-35 record on the season.
This year's Lakers squad opened with a giveaway home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, then looked slow and old in their road loss Monday night against the Sacramento Kings. With limited practice time it will be interesting to see how the Lakers respond to their third game in as many nights, especially against a Utah team playing their first game of the season.
Kobe Bryant has led the Lakers in scoring in each of the first two games this season, and has led the team in scoring in 16 of their last 19 games against the Jazz. Utah beat the Lakers 86-85 on April 5, 2011 to snap a nine-game losing streak to the Lakers at Staples Center. The Lakers are 17-3 in their last 20 regular season home games against the Jazz, dating back to 2001, and 25-3 during that span including the playoffs.
Derrick Favors averaged 16.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in Utah's two preseason games against the Portland Trail Blazers, with each team winning at home. Favors and Al Jefferson (18.6 points, 9.7 rebounds per game last season) form a dynamic frontcourt duo for Utah that could pose a problem for the Lakers, who are still without center Andrew Bynum, serving the third game of his four-game suspension to open the season.
The Lakers have made just five of 32 three-point shots this season (15.6%), including just one of 16 against Sacramento. Bryant and Derek Fisher are each 0-for-5 from distance on the season. The Lakers are just 3-7 in their last 10 games at Staples Center, including the playoffs. The Jazz are 2-12 all-time in season openers on the road.
Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. PST game will be televised by TNT. For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.